Remarks With Zambian President Rupiah Banda
Secretary of State
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you. Thank you very much. I would like to take this opportunity, once again, to welcome you to Zambia and your delegation and to tell you how happy we are that you were able to come to the AGOA forum in our country and that we’re able to receive you here, the guest of honor, and all the Americans who have come here to participate with the African commonwealth in this forum.
With regard to our country, Zambia, I think that the (inaudible). We hope that you will come here some more times. And I’m sure that the Zambian people are very happy to see you in person. Our country is going through a very exciting period in terms of the economy. We believe that as a result of our mining activities, our agricultural activities, our tourism, for our country’s (inaudible) transformation. And, yes, so happy that you came. As (inaudible) American brothers and sisters so we can work together, transform our country.
I’d like also to remind you, it is a very special year for Zambia. When you say 2011, every Zambian knows what you are about to talk about, namely that this is our election year. And I can assure your Excellency and all your colleagues that we’re very proud and impressed that, since 1964, when we had our independence, to date we have had good and fair and free and transparent elections. Of course, the country has grown, for the election has moved from three million plus in 1964 to 13 million now. The economy itself has grown, but, of course, the problems have increased.
The opposition parties also have increased. We have many of our countrymen challenging us in this election, as it should be. It is their right and good for the country that we should have open (inaudible), and that’s when we start showing excellence, in that real elections will be held within the next few months and that they will be transparent, that we will work with all our collaborating partners, including the United States, to ensure that these elections are free and fair and transparent and held in a peaceful atmosphere.
We will have the little hiccups; when we (inaudible) violence. I personally made sure that I went to court to challenge the results of one these elections where the most violence was observed. This is the – in the northwestern province. And my reason for going to court was in order that the courts should pronounce themselves, which they did, against violence. It doesn’t serve anybody any good, and the Zambians should know better. We are surrounded by some of our less fortunate brothers and sisters who have violence, and for now we are struggling to win back on their dreams. So we do need more peaceful – and I want to assure your Excellency we are going to continue to work with you and all other countries to ensure peace on our continent.
So if I may be allowed to pause here so that you can ask questions later.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the warm welcome to Zambia. And I also want to acknowledge Mrs. Banda, who was with me earlier as we celebrated the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, which Zambia has agreed to host. We just attended the closing ceremony of the AGOA forum, and I want to congratulate you, Mr. President, and your government, for hosting such a successful conference. Ambassador Ron Kirk, our trade representative, has told me, and in our meeting with you repeated, what he said about how successfully organized and executed this conference was. I’m looking forward also tomorrow to helping launch the Zambia-U.S. Chamber of Commerce that will help to create more jobs in both of our countries.
We’ve always valued our partnership with you, globally and regionally, as well as bilaterally. Zambia has joined the United States and the international community in many principled stands in support of human dignity, freedom of speech and religion, and the fight against nuclear proliferation. I particularly want to thank Zambia for joining in the international community’s strong stance on behalf of the rights of the people of Syria and Iran at the Human Rights Council.
The United States also values your role as a regional leader. Since your independence, Zambia has been a bulwark for southern Africa, and you have evolved into a strong advocate for peace, stability, and tolerance across the region. Thank you for hosting thousands, hundreds of thousands of refugees, including many Angolans who seek refuge and peace inside your country. Thank you for supporting calls to stop state-sponsored violence, including in Zimbabwe. Thank you for supporting a peaceful transition in Madagascar.
When the people of Zambia adopted multi-party democracy in 1991, you sent a powerful message to Africa and the world: Political leaders are answerable and accountable to their people, not the other way around. Candidates may express passionate differences in campaigns, but then must accept the people’s vote and join together for the sake of the country. And as Zambia approaches another national election, once again, you have the chance to set a model for the rest of the world.
I see many positive (inaudible) on Zambia’s resilient state and confidence in your democratic process. As the president has just said, in our meeting we discussed the importance of conducting the upcoming national election peacefully, transparently, fairly, and freely, in a manner that reflects the will of the Zambian people. The president has invited both international and local observers to monitor the election, and during his campaign, he has spoken out repeatedly against election-related violence. That is an important message for all Zambian citizens, including the one million young people voting for the first time. I congratulate Zambia on registering more than 82 percent of your eligible voters.
Too often the news is dominated by what’s wrong with Africa, not about what’s right. Zambia has shown it is on the right path to tackle its challenges. We have achieved important results together through our close collaboration on health issues, particularly in the fight against HIV and AIDS. And yesterday, the United States joined with other global leaders in calling for action towards eliminating pediatric HIV by 2015. We are getting close to the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zambia, and we see people living with this disease now increasingly productive lives.
There is a lot of work ahead of us. This is a country that is moving ahead. And, Mr. President, the United States is fully committed to supporting Zambia’s progress in the years to come.
Thank you (inaudible).
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Our first question (inaudible).
QUESTION: Madam Secretary and Mr. President, is the U.S. trade approach outlined today going to be sufficient to counter growing Chinese influence in Africa? And Madam Secretary, if I may, if you care to address the report that you’re considering a move to the World Bank? And if I can squeeze another one in, you spoke to Secretary Gates’ comments that NATO is irrelevant unless the U.S. contributes more? And thanks.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Very smart. And to repeat my question just a little slower, the question about Chinese investment stuff.
QUESTION: Yes. The U.S. today outlined the trade approach for Africa, and my question was whether it was going to be enough to counter Chinese influence in the continent?
PRESIDENT BANDA: You mean the involvement of the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: They talk so fast, Mr. President, they get three questions in.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Yeah, yeah, Hillary. (Inaudible)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’d be happy to if you want me to.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Yeah. (Inaudible.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me also begin by answering the question on China, and then I’ll go to the World Bank and then end with Secretary Gates.
China’s presence in Africa reflects the reality that it has important and growing interests here on the continent, including access to resources and markets, as well as developing closer diplomatic ties. The United States does not see the Chinese interest as inherently incompatible with our own interest. I told President Obama, and I have made clear on numerous occasions, we do not see China’s rise as a zero-sum game. We hope that it will become successful in its own economic efforts on behalf of the Chinese people, and that it will assume a greater and more responsible role in addressing global challenges. Now, we are, however, concerned that as China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.
We want to work more closely with China and other countries to make sure that, when we are engaged with Africa, we are doing it in a sustainable manner that will benefit the nations and people of Africa. And therefore, we have begun a dialogue with China about its activities in Africa. We’ve instructed our missions in Africa to reach out to Chinese colleagues in order to explore potential areas of cooperation and assess China’s overall role in their respective countries.
Now secondly, with respect to the World Bank, I have had no discussions with anyone. I have evidenced no interest to anyone. I do not have any interest and am not pursuing that position. It’s a very important institution, and obviously we want to see the World Bank well-led. We work closely with the World Bank, but I am absolutely dedicated to my service as Secretary of State. We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are doing all we can to implement the vision of our improved and growing relationships around the world, including right here in Africa, on behalf of our country.
Finally, Secretary Gates’s recent remarks underscored how this alliance, the greatest alliance in history, cannot get complacent. We all have to step up and share the burdens that we face in responding to 21st century threats, and many members are doing just that. Every country in the alliance – including, of course, our own – is under financial pressure. We are being asked to cut spending on national security at a time when we are living in an increasingly unpredictable world. And I fully agree with Secretary Gates that we all bear a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our citizens, and that requires that we maintain an adequate investment in defense, and that often we have to bolster our investments in security to face these new threats. Now, as the events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown, we cannot predict where threats will occur and we have to be ready, willing, and able to work together.
But Secretary Gates also underscored his personal commitment, over the course of a very long and distinguished career, to NATO. And as he said, through the challenges that NATO has faced, we have managed to get the big things right time and time again. We’ve always come together to make the tough decisions. I don’t think that’s going to change. So we are confident but we are not complacent.
PRESIDENT BANDA: Thank you. Can I just say something about the Chinese? The – our country has been in a close relationship with China from those early years before our independence. So we got our independence in 1964 and we worked closely with the Chinese, as indeed with any other country that’s supported our desire to be independent. (Inaudible) African countries. And earlier on, after our independence, (inaudible) build another route in the 1940’s. So one of the problems that we are facing is the result of the routes to the south. At that time, as we all know, there were problems in South Africa, but there are problems and programs of UBI and Zimbabwe and so on. And so we have always worked with the Chinese.
And then during the recent financial crisis in the world, we were fortunate at the time that the Chinese were still able to continue their appetite for what we were producing here in Kopa. And I think that the whole world benefited from that and we were able to emerge from the financial crisis in the world sooner than later.
I agree with Secretary Clinton that those who wish to come and work with us and invest in our country, and I want to take this opportunity to actually invite everyone to come, and particularly the United States of America, because I know you have the know-how, you have the ability, especially in agriculture, and you have the excess money to take holidays of tourism and in many other places, that Zambia will benefit a great deal. And it’s true that our governments are very sensitive about their people. We are very sensitive here in Zambia about employment for our people, how they are treated when they are working in your various institutions. So I agree with Secretary Clinton, but those who come here to do business must respect our laws and must look out for our people in a different manner. And China is managing a very strong economy, and we know that they have done business with everybody. And the United States, we appreciate their being this country that we don’t exempt them from making sure that they follow the laws of our country. Thank you.
QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Angela Chishimba from Zambia Daily Now. And just please – and I would like to find out how you rate Zambia’s economic performance. And I would also like to find out what assistance you are going to give in terms of skill transfer and capacity building to our Zambian entrepreneurs who are finding it difficult to add value to their goods for export to the U.S. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent questions. One of the goals of the AGOA conference this year was to look at ways that the United States could better assist entrepreneurs across the continent, but in particular in Zambia as the host of this very successful conference. At the conference, Ambassador Kirk announced that the United States will be investing significant dollars – I think up to $120 million – to try to assist over the next four years the acquisition of skills, the ability to do business plans, understand how to get into markets, so that we are not just coming and saying we’d like to do business or we’re going to just bring Americans here to do business. We want to stimulate more Zambian business.
I also very much appreciate that Zambia has agreed to host the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, because we have credible evidence that the more women are able to start and (inaudible) businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises, the more a country will actually prosper economically.
And finally, Zambia is a country that we are focusing on in our Feed the Future program, which is an effort to cooperate jointly between the United States and Zambia on improving agricultural productivity, creating more value-added products that can be not only exported to the United States but exported within Africa and Asia and everywhere else. So we’re quite committed to working with you.
And then finally, tomorrow, I will have the great honor of transferring a pediatric AIDS hospital to the Government of Zambia. We have worked for a number of years in Zambia, and we have seen tremendous progress in the skills of the Zambian health professionals. As I said, we have practically eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV. That is because we, again, have partnered with you. So the United States intends to remain – in fact, we hope even become a better partner in helping to build the economy of Zambia.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: One more question from Voice of America, and I hope (inaudible). (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BANDA: That’s pretty good. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, have you received any assurances from the Chadian foreign ministry these evening that President Deby supports the decisions of the Contact Group on Libya? And are you asking the Government in N’Djamena to do anything specifically toward those ends?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Another important question. Let me begin by saying that I met with the foreign minister from Chad primarily to talk about Sudan because he had just come from meeting with the leaders of both the North and the South as an effort by President Deby to mediate the conflict. We are quite concerned at the outbreak of violence along the border, not just in Abyei, but other places in Sudan. And we are conscious that the clock is ticking on Southern Sudan’s independence. So in working with the African Union, with Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, whom I will see in a few days, with Thabo Mbeki, the envoy, we’ve encouraged the Chadian initiative. We think that it could be quite value-added.
In addition, with respect to Libya, the Chadian Government does not support Qadhafi. They have made that very clear. They want to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict. We are very supportive of their efforts to reach out to the TNC, which they have been doing – the Transitional National Council – which they have been doing in a more sustained way in recent days. So again, we think – Chad has its own difficult history with Libya because Qadhafi tried to seize part of the territory some years back. They are cautious about the outcome and wanting to see it move toward a point of resolution, and we think, again, they can be valuable in sending a clear message that Qadhafi must go.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Speak up just a little bit.
PRESIDENT BANDA: A little bit more.
QUESTION: Good evening.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Perfect.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible), and I write for (inaudible) television. I would like to draw your attention to the issue of climate change and how the U.S. Government (inaudible) the developed countries, what practical assistance developing countries like Zambia (inaudible). How do you look at the possible achievements or better progress in as far as (inaudible) 2015, very close by. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Again, I appreciate both questions. The president and I discussed climate change, the importance of addressing climate change here in Africa. As you know, the next conference will be held in Durban, South Africa. We think that there was progress made in Cancun last year that we want to see built on, and part of that progress was the establishment of a Green Fund that would channel financial assistance to countries that were unable to adapt and deal with the effects of climate change or mitigate against potential effects. We’re very hopeful that the Green Fund will be firmly set up by Durban or as part of the Durban agenda. The United States is committed to working through that fund. And we have also been working closely with the African representatives with respect to the necessary support that Africa deserves in dealing with climate change.
So I think you’ll see continuing efforts to build on the progress in South Africa, but we all have much more to do. We are not doing enough, and this is one of President Obama’s major points about why we need to move towards clean renewable energy, why we need to all look at how we can adopt agricultural practices and other behaviors that will lessen the impact of climate change. So the world has to do more, and we stand ready through our aid programs to assist on that.
Your second question – can you remind me?
MODERATOR: She has meant to ask two questions in one. (Laughter.) They are very good.
QUESTION: Well, I wanted to get you on that (inaudible) --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yes. The –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve made progress, but not enough. At the 2010 United Nations General Assembly, we reviewed the progress that has been made, but I certainly am not satisfied. I don’t think anyone should be satisfied. We’ve made progress in certain statistical areas, but we have not crossed the threshold on education or healthcare the way that we need to. So I think as we move toward 2015, a lot of the lessons that we tried to analyze in 2010 need to be applied. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve reorganized a number of our aid programs, our health programs, our food and agriculture programs. We’re trying to really zero in on results. We want to see results. So we want to set targets for decreasing maternal mortality and infant mortality, deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, so we can set some standards and push towards those Millennium Goals. But the United States and this Administration remain very committed.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Just for the background of the press, 34 years ago, the president of Zambia was the minister of foreign affairs, and he had the privilege of hosting dinner for the visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Henry Kissinger. Today, he is the president of Zambia and has another opportunity to host a U.S. Secretary State.
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) From 1976 to 2011. (Laughter.) Thank you.